Word 2004 to Word 2011
January 18, 2012 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Switching from Word for Mac 2004 to Word for Mac 2011. Formatting and compatibility issues. Really truly clueless. Help?

So I got a new MacBook Pro (Oct 2011), and currently have the trial version of Word (Office) for Mac 2011. I transferred all my documents from my old hard drive (MacBook 2007), which were saved as .doc’s in Office 2004. These are my issues:

--When opening up my 2004 documents in 2011, they open up in a .doc ‘compatability mode’. Everything looks normal and fine on my end, but after sending that document to a friend, the formatting is all screwed up on her end. The friend I sent it to is using the same 2004 of Word that I used to have. She is seeing lines where I don’t see lines on my end (this is a resumè I’m editing).

--So I tried to copy and paste it into a new 2011 document. I saved it as a .docx (when I tried to save it as just a .doc it said that that’s the same as compatibility mode). After sending that to the aforementioned friend, she opened it to find that it was totally blank, where obviously on my end it was not.

--So WTF do I do here? This is for the process of resumè and cover letter submissions, so I can’t just use google docs or cut and paste into the body of an email (I am mostly instructed to submit my resumè and cover letter as attachments).

And lastly, is it an acceptable practice to email pdf versions of resumès and cover letters when applying for a job? Or should it absolutely be a .doc or some version? Maybe I can try making pdfs?

It might be worth noting that I work in a field that tends to be underfunded, so it’s probably safe to assume that the people I’m emailing don’t necessarily have the most up-to-date software.

Thanks for you help, and apologies if I sound like a complete fool.
posted by greta simone to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not a specific answer to your formatting quesiton, but pdfs are, in general, a much better idea than doc files -- they're more standard cross-platform and everyone can be expected to be able to open one. Unless it specifically says to NOT submit a pdf, I would always submit a pdf.

(Also, and I know this is nitpicky, but in case you are actually using the word on your resume -- if you're going to use the accents, it's résumé -- accents on both e's, and the opposite accent (the one that goes up from left to right instead of down) from the one you're using, but the accents aren't really necessary at all).
posted by brainmouse at 3:00 PM on January 18, 2012

A lot of places are picky these days about having word docs because a lot of back-end HR systems are set up to import them directly. If they ask for a .doc file, submit a .doc file.
posted by Oktober at 3:09 PM on January 18, 2012

Response by poster: Résumé, yes, thank you. I am aware, just didn't do a very good job of editing before posting. So I have a pdf of what I need, but when a .doc is required, what are my options here?
posted by greta simone at 3:19 PM on January 18, 2012

Are you editing them in the 2011 Word or does the weird formatting happen to 2004 Word docs?
posted by Partario at 3:21 PM on January 18, 2012

Try copying it and pasting it into a brand-new doc without formatting (go to the paste drop-down and select paste text only or something like that) and then add your formatting back in. Save as a docx and as a doc, and try sending both of those to your friend?
posted by brainmouse at 3:22 PM on January 18, 2012

Response by poster: I have both a 2004 .doc and a 2011 .docx (which I pretty much copy and pasted from the old doc then reformatted), both of which look fine on my end, but when I send the 2004 .doc to someone with 2004 word, it looks effed up, and when I send the 2011 .docx to someone with 2004 word, nothing shows up at all!
posted by greta simone at 3:24 PM on January 18, 2012

Response by poster: Er, I have already done what you said brainmouse. This is the result of that.
posted by greta simone at 3:24 PM on January 18, 2012

Oh, I assumed you just did a normal copy + paste. In that case, If it were me I would re-type the whole thing from scratch. Open your resume and put it on the left side of your screen, then open a new doc and put it on the right side, and just re-type it from what you have, and try that way. These versions should be compatible, so there must be something funky in what you're copying that is somehow breaking the doc, though I don't know what it could be.

Actually, try turning on paragraph view (ctrl+shift+8) and see if there's any bizarre characters hanging out invisibly first?
posted by brainmouse at 3:29 PM on January 18, 2012

Hmmm. I can upload 2004 docs to Google, and they turn out fine.

Have you seen this thread?
posted by Partario at 3:31 PM on January 18, 2012

Oh, and this.
posted by Partario at 3:32 PM on January 18, 2012

Save it as a plain text file. Reload it in word 2011 and reformat it (shouldn't take you more than a few minutes). Save as a doc and docx.
posted by empath at 4:15 PM on January 18, 2012

Just to be certain: your friend has problems when you "Save As…" the original .doc as a "Word 97-2004 (.doc)" document, not a "Word Document (.docx)"?

Because, while it's not 100% perfect, I haven't seen too many compatibility issues between 2011's "Word 97-2004" format and Word 2004. Where I have seen lots of problems is with the Microsoft Open XML File Format Converter plugin/update that Office 2004 uses to open .docx /.xslx files.

Put simply, while the plugin gets the text and most basic formatting in, it screws up any complex formatting / attributes terribly.
posted by Pinback at 4:39 PM on January 18, 2012

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